Title: Cliche
By TrinityLast
E-mail: trinitylast@wambtac.com
Disclaimer: Well, since Joss would *never* let something like this happen, because god forbid the characters are *ever* happy, Iím gonna go with Ďnot mineí.
Distribution: Thedge (my site), Forbidden Dreams...and anyone else Iíve already given permission to. Thatís it, really. But if you want it, ask me. You never know, I might say yes. :-)
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Season five finale, without Buffy dying. For Ats, the Pylea eppy, without the ending.
Feedback: YES! God, yes. Please, yes.
Note: Buffy killed Glory, but didnít die. She didnít sacrifice Dawn, either. Just read it.
Note2: Alternating POVís, starting with Angel, with a bit of third person narrative thrown in.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

God, sheís beautiful...

Sorry. Thatís really cliched, I know. But she is. I canít count all the times Iíve sat up here, watching her sleep. I sit on the roof outside her window and just watch her. The way she breathes...the way she sighs in her sleep. The way she calls out when sheís upset. Or even when sheís not.

I could be staring at an empty bed right now. I could be waiting for something that would never come again.

She could have died.

Cordy had a vision when we got back from Pylea. She saw Buffy swan dive off a platform and die. I panicked and called Giles. Only to find out that it *could* have happened that way, but it didnít. Some higher power stepped in and just...stopped what she was trying to prevent.

So, I know. Cordyís vision was a message.

It was a message that I can lose her even if I donít have her. When Cordelia told us what she saw, I thought I was dying. I swear, I felt myself turn to dust. The sunlight never looked so welcoming.

Then I find out that it didnít happen...but it could have. And I realized something.

She could die. And if I stay away, she wonít go in my arms.

Sheíll go on some patrol. Sheíll be blindsided by some nameless demon, and sheíll die alone, in the cemetery, with no one there to hold her hand. No one there to keep her warm. No one there to make her feel safe and loved.

I will not let that happen.

Iíll be there. From now on, I will be here. *Here*. In Sunnydale. Iíve already worked it out with the gang in LA. Weíre going to split the business in two and set up an office here. Iím going to go back and forth. Itíll be a pain in the ass.

But Iíll be here when she needs me.

I donít know if sheíll take me back. I donít know if she even wants me back. Cordy talked to Willow, and I know that Riley left her. I know he paid vamp whores to suck his blood. When I heard that, I came very close to going to South America, finding him, and killing him.

But that would be too far away from her. What if something happened while I was gone?

Iíve heard a lot of things in the last few days that made me regret leaving even more. Dracula comes to mind. Spike falling in love with her runs a close second.

But none of that matters now. Not if sheíll take me back.

I need her to take me back.

I donít deserve it. Iíve hurt her. Iíve hunted her, and Iíve put her through hell. I left her, just when things were getting back to where we were comfortable. I took away our chance to be normal when I turned back the day. I protected the girl who stole her body, hit her, yelled at her, and then showed up in town and beat up her boyfriend.

But she wants me. I know she does.

Iíve been up here for an hour or so now, and sheís called for me twice in her sleep. I thought that, when we sat by her motherís grave and kissed, she was just looking for a man to help her through this. Thatís how I justified leaving. Thatís the only way I was able to not gather her into my arms and never let go.

ĎHowís forever? Does forever work for you?í

It wouldnít be nearly enough.

I know now, standing here, that she wasnít just looking for some random man. She was looking for me.

But the timing was wrong. And I couldnít offer then what I can offer now. Itís really amazing what a little word like ĎShanshuí can do to change a manís life. Even more amazing is what the sentence Ďthe reward will come in stagesí can do.

It can give you the world.

Or, just your soul. Permanently.

<< O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >>

Do you have any idea how it feels to wake up knowing someoneís watching you?

A long time ago, I was used to it. But then, a long time ago, I always knew who was watching.

Iíve been awake, lying here not moving for almost a half hour now, and Iíve finally admitted to myself that he isnít going to say anything. Heís just gonna sit there, outside my window, watching. He isnít gonna do a damn thing.

I really hate when he does that. And I love it at the same time.

Itís been so long since I could be irritated that he was watching me sleep...

I used to wake up with the feel of his eyes on me. Almost every night I felt it. Sometimes, heíd come in. Weíd talk. Later, heíd come in and weíd kiss. Even later still, after that horrible summer, Iíd wake in his bed, him watching me, and weíd lie there together. Thatís the most loved Iíve ever felt.

Making love to Riley? That wasnít love. It was sex. Yes, I loved him. That tends to happen when you spend that much time with someone. You canít help it. But I couldnít help it that I wasnít *in love* with him, either. I just wasnít. And when we were together, he never even touched the places in me that I needed him to. The places that a single kiss from Angel set at peace.

Riley never even came close.

I hate to say it, but Dracula did. When he bit me, I felt him brushing some of them...I wasnít at peace, but it was feeling in places that had been neglected so long, I thought theyíd gone numb. Thatís why I drank his blood. To see if I could recapture some of what I lost when Angel left. I couldnít. He wasnít Angel. He knew the right places to reach for, but he didnít know how to touch them.

Still, it was more than nothing, which is what I got from Riley. Can I help it that after that, I was never really that into him?

So, he left. And I stopped feeling numb. The numbness was replaced with pain. Not from losing Riley, though, I admit, it did hurt. But from the fact that I didnít have Angel. Riley was like a contact lens. You put it in, and never notice that thereís something in your eye. It isnít until you take the contact out that your eye gets red and puffy. Not because the irritant wasnít there. But because you were masking it.

Riley was a Band-Aid. He stopped me from feeling for Angel, because I was trying so hard to feel for him. He gave me something to focus on. A distraction. Something to talk about. And later, at night, something to do when Iím lying there, trying not to think about the person in my life who, as I go to bed, gets up to start his Ďdayí.

Ok, so I got a little obsessed for a while. But he was a really good distraction! And the Initiative only helped in that area.

And I just couldnít look at Giles, and know that he was actually *glad* that Angel was gone. Donít you get it? How could I spend time with someone I love, knowing that heís happy Iíve lost my reason for fighting?

Itís the same reason I avoided my mom. But then, you canít really avoid your mother, can you? Sheís your mother.

Was. Was, was, was.

God, that hurts. But I canít do that to myself. Must remember. I start talking in the present-tense, and Iím suddenly expecting her to be downstairs, cooking breakfast again.

So, was. She was my mother.

Well, at least Iím not irritated at Angel anymore for watching me sleep. Now Iím crying over my mother.

Great.

<< O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >>

Sheís awake. Sheís been awake for at least a half hour...I knew the minute she knew I was here. Her breathing changed. A lot.

And now sheís crying.


I didnít know what she was thinking about to make her cry. I didnít even think about it. The minute I heard her hitched breathing and smelled her tears I was in her room. I walked around the bed and kneeled in front of her, brushing the tears from her cheeks. She smiled at me.

Iím telling you, her smile is brighter than the sun.

"Whatís wrong?"

She shrugged, but the action was weak and I suddenly found myself wondering how many nights shes lain there crying, with no one to hold her.

Can a dead heart crumble? What if itís already been broken before?

Her voice broke me out of my reverie. "How long are you here?"

I smiled and allowed myself to run my hand over her hair. Itís like silk under my palm...I always forget just how soft it is.

"Does forever work for you?"

She started to cry again and I kicked off my shoes and shrugged out of my coat before getting into the bed behind her. I wrapped her in my arms and started rocking, murmuring nonsense into her ear. I donít even remember what I said now. I just talked. She cried in my arms for an hour before she calmed enough to talk to me.

"Why are you here?"

I didnít know how to answer her. How do you tell the woman you love that youíve finally realized how stupid you were to leave her?

As I recall, she already knew it was stupid. She told me so before I left.

On the other hand, it was good for both of us. Now I know. I know what life is like without her, and I have friends. I have a life other than this beautiful blonde.

And I know that a life without her in it, friends or not, while less painful at times, is not a life I want.

"Itís a long story."

She turned in my embrace and I got ready to let her go if she wanted to, though the very thought of her leaving tore at me. But she just rested her head against my arm and looked up at me.

"I have time."

<< O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >>

Heís been talking for hours. Iíve heard all about his life. His friends. Cordy, Wes, Gunn...Lorne. Fred and Pylea. Darla. Drusilla. Wolfram and Heart. Everything thatís happened since I saw him last. He met Anne. I didnít realize she still used that name. Iím flattered. And Iím glad. Sounds like she got her life together.

ĎIím not good at taking care of myself.í

So, now sheís taking care of other kids like her. If anyone is qualified to do that, itís her. She knows, better than anyone, the dangers of living on the street.

Maybe Iíll visit her this summer. Go see her in LA. She is, after all, my namesake. I wonder if she still has Rickyís name on her arm? Probably not. She doesnít still go by Lily, so I donít see her carrying the name of Lilyís love. That part of her life is behind her.

Iím happy for her.

Iím happy for Angel too. Heís done a lot with his life. He moved on. He made a place for himself.

What Iím trying to figure out is, why is he here?

He doesnít need me anymore. Thatís obvious. He has a life and a place back in LA. So, why is he here in my bed, comforting me? The last thing he needs right now is a needy little girl mourning her mother and holding him back.

Wait, heís still talking, isnít he?

"So, we came back. I donít know if Groo is going to be able to keep it in line, but...I think he has a pretty good chance. With the religious leaders gone, theyíre going to need a person to look to for leadership. I think heíll be good for that."

I nodded as I managed to get back to the thread of conversation in my head.

Ok, now was the time. If Iím gonna ask, I should ask.

"So, why are you *here*?"

I didnít look at him. I couldnít. Instead, I stared at his chest. The top three buttons of his shirt were undone, leaving a bit of his impressive muscle open to my gaze. God, I missed that. Heís so gorgeous.

I felt his fingers under my chin as he raised my head. I bit my lip.

"Iím here because I realized that I canít do it anymore."

I frowned. "Do what?"

"Live without my heart."

Oh.

Oh, god...

Heís kissing me!

Oh, I missed this...

<< O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >>

Angel lowered his mouth to Buffyís and claimed her lips, reveling in the sweetness. He kissed her gently, felt her fingers threading through his hair and fisted his hand in hers, running the other over her back. His tongue came out to slid along her bottom lip, begging entry, which she gave immediately.

His hand left her back and came around to cup her breast, letting the weight sit in his palm and rubbing his thumb over her nipple until it was hard and aching. She moaned, and suddenly pulled away, panting.

"Angel, we canít."

He pulled her mouth back to his and kissed her again, plunging his tongue back in, sweeping it across hers in a possessive claim. He didnít speak until he let her up to breathe almost a minute later.

"Yes, we can."

Her eyes got bright, and Angel could have sworn that if he breathed, heíd be in trouble right about then.

"We can?"

"Yes."

He was on his back less than a second later, a warm slayer wriggling on top of him, her mouth on his.

He broke away again to let her breathe, again, and started nibbling down her neck, looking for that spot. When he found her scar he growled. It wasnít his anymore. It was Draculaís.

That would have to change.

Buffy, laying on top of him, felt the growl more than she heard it and moaned, feeling the heat pooling as she worked on his shirt buttons. That sound never failed to get her wet, and sheíd already been dripping from the kisses.

Angelís kisses got her wetter than Rileyís most blatant attentions ever had.

He smelled her arousal and growled again, repressing a smirk when she moaned. Flipping them, he started to move down her body, shrugging out of his shirt as he went. When his mouth was level with her stomach he placed a gentle kiss just above her belly button and rested there a moment, breathing her in. Heíd always loved her belly. So soft and warm. Then he started slowly kissing a trail up, bringing the shirt she slept in with her. He got to her breasts and placed a kiss between them before lifting the shirt over her head. Then he slid down again.

Taking first her left, then her right nipple into his mouth, he suckled and nibbled, running his tongue around it. His hand teased the other nipple, running in circles around it but never touching. Buffy moaned and shifted on the bed, pressing her hips into him. Finally, he had mercy and, using his human teeth, he bit down on the nipple in his mouth while twisting the one in his hand. Buffy shrieked and thrashed, and Angel smiled against her breast as he felt her coming under him.

When sheíd come down he moved up her again and rested his hips against her. Buffy raised her knees to cradle him. She brought her hands up and cupped his face, forcing his forehead to meet hers and made him meet her eyes.

"In. Me. Now."

Angel nodded and, reaching down with both hands, ripped her panties at the seams, pulling them off and throwing them away. Buffy undid his pants and together they managed to get them down his legs so he could kick them free.

Buffy felt him at her opening and arched up. "*Now* Angel."

He pushed into her and they both moaned.

They lay there for a moment, just memorizing the feel of each other. Then Buffy wrapped her legs around him and moaned again as it pushed his cock deeper into her, and, slowly, Angel started to move.

He began with short, shallow thrusts, but neither of them was willing to wait that long and soon he was pulling almost all the way out only to slam back in. The bed was squeaking and Buffy gave a fleeting thought to the fact that Dawn was probably listening to them before she lost all train of thought and her world exploded into a million bright lights. Without even thinking she flipped her hair, arching her neck and offering her throat to Angel.

He stared at her scar for a moment before bending and placing a gentle kiss on it. The pulse thumped just below the surface and the demon emerged. Gently, he pierced the scared skin, reclaiming his mate.

The blood hit his tongue and he came, only vaguely aware that the bite had caused Buffy to climax yet again.

<< O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >> << O >>

We kept talking. After, while we were lying there, in my bed. More talking. I forgot how much I missed just talking to Angel. How much I missed his opinions. The way he always reacted when I told him about something Xander said, or something Willow did. I forgot. I used to take it for granted. It feels good to remember.

I hope I donít ever have occasion to remember again. Thereís something to be said for taking things for granted.

And finally, after years of being first numb and then in pain, those places only Angel can touch feel right. I feel whole.

That sounds so cliche.

But, sometimes, cliches are good.

Sometimes theyíre better than anything else.

END

 

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